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James Clear
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James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to improve your performance and master your habits. For fresh ideas on how to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically — join his free newsletter. Or, download his 45-page guide called Transform Your Habits.

Entries by James Clear

Smart People Should Create Things

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2014 | 9:09 AM

It was 1974, and Art Fry was spending his weekend singing for the local church choir. On this particular Sunday, Fry was dealing with a relatively boring problem: He couldn't keep his bookmarks in place.

In order to find hymns quickly, Fry would stick little pieces of paper between the...

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How to Be More Productive and Eliminate Time-Wasting Activities by Using the 'Eisenhower Box'

(21) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 9:19 AM

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives you can imagine. Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. During his time in office, he launched programs that directly led to the development of the Interstate Highway System in the United...

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How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 6:28 PM

In one of my very first articles, I discussed a concept called identity-based habits.

The basic idea is that the beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior. Maybe you can trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't...

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Stop Wasting Time on the Details and Commit to the Fundamentals

(2) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 11:20 AM

I was in the gym one day, training like usual, when my coach made an important observation. It didn't take me long to see how this discovery applied to other areas of my life as well.

Here's what happened.

We looked across the gym and saw someone performing lateral raises...

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I'm Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick with Good Habits

(2) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 8:21 AM

I have been trying a new strategy for building habits and it is working incredibly well. This strategy is remarkably easy and it is governed by three simple rules.

First I'll tell you the three rules. Then, I'll explain how I'm using this strategy and offer some other examples of...

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How to Eliminate Procrastination (The Surprising Strategy One Man Used)

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 3:57 PM

In 2009, Fred Stutzman was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, and he was trying to grind out some important work on his thesis.

But there was a problem.

His favorite coffee shop, which had previously been a quiet sanctuary where he could escape distraction and get...

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Leadership at Scale (Why I Write)

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 2:20 PM

Every Monday and Thursday for the past 16 months, I sat down in my chair, put my hands on the keyboard, and wrote a new article. Post after post. Week after week. Over 130 articles and counting.

Why do I do this each week? What keeps pulling me back to...

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Combien de temps faut-il pour prendre une habitude (selon la science)?

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 3:48 PM

Maxwell Maltz était chirurgien plastique dans les années 1950 lorsqu'il s'est rendu compte d'une étrange tendance chez ses patients.

Quand le Docteur Maltz pratiquait une opération -du nez, par exemple- il constatait que le patient mettait environ 21 jours à s'habituer à son nouveau visage. De même, quand un patient...

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Combien de temps faut-il pour prendre une habitude (selon la science)?

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2014 | 4:02 PM

Maxwell Maltz était chirurgien plastique dans les années 1950 lorsqu'il s'est rendu compte d'une étrange tendance chez ses patients.

Quand le Docteur Maltz pratiquait une opération -du nez, par exemple- il constatait que le patient mettait environ 21 jours à s'habituer à son nouveau visage. De même, quand un patient...

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How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science)

(20) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 8:45 AM

Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.

When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation -- like a nose job, for example -- he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing...

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Masters of Habit: Rituals, Lessons and Quotes From Marcus Aurelius

(2) Comments | Posted April 6, 2014 | 10:11 AM

Masters of Habit is a series of mini-biographies on the daily rituals and routines of great athletes, artists, and leaders.

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. Known as the last of the "Five Good Emperors," Aurelius was not born into power, but rather was adopted (his biological...

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The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait for Motivation (They Do This Instead)

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 8:21 AM

Franz Kafka is considered one of the most creative and influential writers of the 20th century, but he actually spent most of his time working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute. How did Kafka produce such fantastic creative works while holding down his day job?

By sticking...

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The Power of Imperfect Starts: How Good Do You Really Need to Be to Get Started?

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 2:55 PM

When you have a goal -- whether it's starting a business or eating healthier or traveling the world -- it's easy to look at someone who is already doing it and then try to reverse engineer their strategy.

In some cases, this is really useful. Learning from the experiences of...

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Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 12:34 PM

John Heywood was an English playwright who lived hundreds of years ago.

Today, Heywood is known for his poems, proverbs, and plays. But more than any one work, it's his phrases that have made him famous. For example, here are some popular sayings that have been attributed to Heywood...

  • "Out...
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Strategies I'm Using to Stay Fit While Traveling

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 10:16 AM

I believe that we are meant to live physical lives, which is why I love training, weightlifting and athletic competition. But I also believe that we are meant to explore the world around us, which is why I love adventure, photography and travel.

But balancing these two passions can be...

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How to Stick With Good Habits Even When Your Willpower Is Gone

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 7:43 AM

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But the more I learn, the more I believe that the No. 1 driver of better habits and behavior change is your environment.

Let me drop some science into this blog and show...

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What I've Learned From Two Years of Intermittent Fasting

(7) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 4:02 PM

Adopting a philosophy of self-experimentation can make a tremendous difference in your life.

Choosing to experiment with new ideas can help you start a successful business. Choosing to experiment with sharing your work can launch your career as a writer or an artist. And choosing to experiment with different diets...

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This Research Study Changed the Way We Think About Success (Here's How You Can Use It)

(1) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 7:43 AM

It was my freshman year of high school, and our basketball team had started the season with a losing streak.

One day at practice, as our team was struggling to find some confidence and get our first win of the season, our coach pulled us together and said something that...

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Feeling Uncertain Doesn't Make You Weak, Weird or Unqualified

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 3:09 PM

I have two stories to tell you.

Story Number One
I was in a bar in New York City, and I was trying to convince a stranger to fly to Buenos Aires. I had never been there, but I knew it was the right place for him.

This man...

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The Weird Strategy Dr. Seuss Used to Create His Greatest Work (And Why You Should Use It, Too)

(4) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 12:05 PM

In 1960, two men made a bet.

There was only $50 on the line, but millions of people would feel the impact of this little wager.

The first man, Bennett Cerf, was the founder of the publishing firm Random House. The second man was named Theo Geisel, but you probably...

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